Malta is a small archipelago of beautiful islands found amongst the rolling waves of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a unique nation to visit because the country’s geographical location between North Africa and Italy has given the islands here a diversity that’s hardly matched anywhere else in Europe.
There are influences from across the neighboring regions that all collide to produce a culture and history that is more intriguing than you would ever imagine possible, given the small size of Malta.
Equally as diverse is the spectacular scenery that’s awaiting visitors to Malta, from the dramatic coastline and colorful bays to the rustic villages and rolling countryside. In Malta, there are countless day trip opportunities across the islands that make up this Mediterranean country.
Explore the medieval streets of the capital Valletta, visit ancient temples, snorkel in clear waters, and enjoy beautiful, golden beaches in the sunshine.
It’s a great place to visit – to help you plan your trip, here are the best day trips in Malta.
Any trip to Malta needs to begin with a trip to the nation’s capital of Valletta. This small city is a spectacular mixture of architecture that encompasses many of the historical eras of Malta – from the medieval buildings of the Knights Hospitallier through to more modern defenses built by the British during World War II.
It’s an incredibly historic place and you can spend hours simply wandering through these old streets admiring the sights and attractions of the city.
Explore the city walls, visit St John’s Cathedral, and call in at the many museums strung throughout Valletta. The two harbors found on either side of the city are wonderful areas to explore too, and you can be sure you will be mesmerized by all you find in the city.
Available tour: Valletta and 3 Cities Private 4-Hour Shore Excursion
2. The Three Cities
The Three Cities make for an intriguing day trip that takes in three of Malta’s most historic sites – the medieval areas of Cospicua, Senglea, and Vittoriosa.
These three cities are found close to Valletta, to the south-east of the Grand Harbor that the capital is built around. You can take a boat or ferry across from Valletta to truly experience these spectacular cities, arriving in the shadow of the huge walls and fortifications that have long protected them from invasion.
The Three Cities date back to medieval times and some areas are in fact older than Valletta itself. You can easily spend the day exploring the narrow alleyways and historic sites that are found within the Three Cities.
3. Palazzo Parisio
The Palazzo Parisio is found in the village of Naxxar on the island of Malta and dates back to the 18th century. At first, this was just a simple hunting lodge in the countryside, but in the early 20th century, a grand palace was built by a Marquis – and he didn’t hold back on its elegant design.
It’s a wonderfully lavish estate to visit and the sheer quantity of chandeliers alone will astound you.
There are stately rooms, corridors covered in paintings and portraits, and extensive, well-curated grounds to walk through.
4. Marsovin Cellars
Found in the Paulo region of Malta, on the southeastern side of the Grand Harbor, the Marsovin Cellars are a fantastic place to visit for those interested in learning more about the country’s flourishing wine culture.
The cellars are extensive; over the years, a vast collection of over 100,000 different bottles of wine has been collected and curated to be stored here.
The cellars themselves are historic, having been built by the Knights of St John centuries ago. Today, you can enjoy a wine tasting experience like no other in these medieval surroundings.
You can sample the local tastes, which are all produced from grapes grown on the island before being aged in barrels on site.
5. St Julians
St Julians is a district of Malta that’s found along the coast to the north of Valletta. Here you can find colorful bays that quite literally start on the edge of town; while the beaches are rocky, they are still beautiful in their own way.
St Julians, while having a number of historic and natural attractions, is perhaps more famous for its nightlife than for anything else these days.
It’s a popular resort area where you can find many restaurants and an even greater number of bars catering to holidaymakers.
It’s a good place to let your hair down and enjoy a few drinks in the evening – and perhaps even a few more drinks into the early hours of the morning.
Marsaxlokk is a small village that is one of the longest continually inhabited settlements in Malta. Located in the southeast, this is a charming fishing port that can trace its origins back thousands of years.
There are several ancient temples to visit in the area, and, as well as this Neolithic era history, it’s a great place to explore authentic Maltese livelihoods.
Many of the residents are still traditional fishermen, and every weekend the village becomes the scene of a huge fish market, as buyers and sellers arrive from all over the island on their colorful boats.
7. Golden Bay
One of the most beautiful beaches in all of Malta can be found at Golden Bay. This small, sheltered cove has some of the finest sand in the country and has become a firm favorite amongst travelers and holidaymakers.
Despite its popularity, it has somehow still managed to retain a semblance of its rustic past, and even though there are many hotels and resorts along the coastline here, the hidden bay itself has managed to avoid much direct development.
The scenery here is simply spectacular. You can enjoy a lazy day on the beach and swimming in the shallow, clear, and colorful water.
8. Blue Grotto
Found at the southern end of Malta, the Blue Grotto is an iconic destination to visit. Along the rugged coastline, the weather-beaten rocks of Malta have, over the years, been crafted into a series of unique caverns that are today perfect for exploring.
The best way to experience the arches and caverns is to take a boat along the shore, where you will be instantly amazed by both the scenery and the bright blue hues of the water.
9. Dingli Cliffs
The rustic village of Dingli is the scene of some of Malta’s most inspiring coastline. The Dingli Cliffs are a dramatic sight to see and form the highest point on the island, as they rise to just over 200 meters in height.
This is a rural part of the island; the village by the cliffs is a picturesque, pastoral place to visit that harks back to another era long ago.
10. Buskett Gardens
When you arrive on Malta, you will soon notice that despite its unparalleled natural scenery, the one thing the island does lack is any forest or woodland.
The one area you can find that is full of trees is the Buskett Gardens. This unique area is unusual on Malta and makes for an interesting location to spend the day, strolling in the shade in the beautiful valley.
It’s so nice that even the President of Malta has an official residence on the edge of Buskett Gardens.
11. Hagar Qim and Mnajdra
This outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Site protects an ancient temple complex that includes the two expansive religious areas of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra.
Found at the far southern end of the island of Malta, these temples are a relic of a world that existed here long, long ago. They can claim to be one of the oldest known religious sites in the world that are still standing, with their origins believing to date back to at least the 3rd, or perhaps even 4th century BC.
Ggantija is another ancient temple complex found in Malta.
Located on the island of Gozo, in the north of the country, this Neolithic site dates as far back as the 5th century BC and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Listing that protects the rest of Malta’s prehistoric temples.
Considering their age, the rocks and stones that form this religious site are remarkably well preserved in their original layout.
Mdina is a former capital of Malta and is found in the northern region of the country.
The city can be traced back to the days of Phoenician settlement of the island. For thousands of years, it served as the main capital and is today an important historical site and an excellent place to spend the day exploring.
14. Dwerja Bay
Dwerja Bay is found on the island of Gozo and is one of the most spectacular natural sites in the country.
This is where the Azure Window could, until very recently, be found. This natural arch was an iconic symbol of Malta, but in a violent storm in 2017, the rock collapsed.
You can still see the humble remains and the rest of the coastline here is equally dramatic and weather-beaten.
Compared to the two main islands of Malta and Gozo, Comino is much smaller and far less developed.
It’s a great place to spend the day if you are looking for an untouched part of the country to explore, and it’s every bit as beautiful and dramatic as anywhere else in the archipelago.